As beaches prepare to open for the season, the Coast Guard urges beachgoers to be safe on the waterfront. Some locations are unguarded and have strong currents.
Lifeguards are getting ready as beaches in Marquette officially open Memorial Day weekend. With some warm weather expected this upcoming weekend, the city of Marquette will have the beaches guarded just in case. Just Wednesday, the Marquette City Fire Department was seen deploying 25 buoys, marking off designated swimming areas.
"The safest places to go and enjoy the nice weather in the summertime would be the guarded beaches at South Beach, McCarty's Cove, and along the beachfront on Lake Shore Boulevard," said Christopher Connolly, Boatswain's Mate First Class at the Coast Guard station in Marquette.
But with 11 miles of shoreline in Marquette, there are some places that should be avoided, like the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse--a place many rock climbers love to visit.
"This is actually a pretty dangerous activity. The rocks there are pretty jagged, and it's very shallow water around the lighthouse," Connolly added.
If you're walking along the beach near the lighthouse, it's best to stop where the sand does. Elsewhere around Marquette, one location even has signs and buoys trying to warn swimmers away. The currents around Picnic Rocks make it one of the most dangerous places to swim around all of the beaches in Marquette. Avoid swimming here at all times.
"It's extremely dangerous. The currents are dangerous. The bottom is uneven and it drops off quickly. Not a good place to recreate," said Tom Belt, City of Marquette Fire Chief.
If there is ever a situation involving drowning, expect a multi-unit response. Lifeguards respond immediately, then the Coast Guard and fire department arrive in minutes for back up. The safest option is always through prevention. When going to the beach, be aware of the weather and what locations are safest.
The National Weather Service offers a marine forecast to better serve those making their way to the beaches. The City of Marquette also offers information on their website about waterfront safety , including a map of the safe and unsafe locations.
"Family going to the beach...enjoy yourself, keep an eye on your children, swim in the guarded areas, and have fun," Belt added.
In the event of an emergency, the Coast Guard station in Marquette can be reached 24/7 at (906) 226-3312 or on VHF channel 16.